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Central Europe Review
Killing the Buddha
Web del Sol
[W r i t e r' s N o t e b o o k]
Chance meetings always brought interesting characters into my domain. I would learn the bare facts of things. Ah, this one was born in San Francisco, joined the army, worked at a small engineering firm, and now was unemployed for several years. Never married. Liked music.
He believed that the places one decides to live are chosen by the fidelity of ghosts who lie in wait in the wood and stone, attracting similar types of people.
They always seemed to appear during transitions when the mind is laid open and presented a vast array of choice in a world of shrunken alleyways. I accepted the character, no matter what. Whatever the person had to give, whatever positive sign they had developed became mine, in a manner of speaking.
He walked across the park in a curious, self-conscious way. After he disappeared I tried remembering everything I had read about the occult, Herman Hesse, and Carl Jung.
The occult. What a strange underground that had, for a moment, broken ground from novels, secret societies, lonely aristocrats and their reveries, to live among the most normal of people who believed it was absolute truth. I remember what one character in Ulysses had said: "It all started with the Blavatsky woman."
I left the park and caught the #51 bus for College Avenue, toward Lewins Metaphysical Bookstore that I had passed more than once. I wanted to find out more about the occult after my chance meeting with the odd neighbor.
Bells above the door surprised me. A black cat leapt from an old chair covered in purple and brushed against my leg.
The woman behind the desk warned me not to pet the cat or it'd bite my finger.
The store had an over-clean smell to it; some odor lingered that was not pure. It seemed so ancient to me that I was thrown off-guard when a car drove by the splendid window, filled with books only the cognoscenti knew about. It was a room of stark silence, as though a jovial laugh would disturb the sleep of some hidden ghost. A pall of an incense stick hung over the tables and chairs where, in fact, no one sat. It mixed with a pall of sadness as though, after all, it was only about finding something in the middle of nothing. It was the revenge of a bruised ego, many bruised egos floating through time without no place to stop. Ah, they are here now, like trees that have been taken from a great forrest and stuck in the center of the city in celebration of a holiday no one understands.
So, I wandered between the aisles of books. There were many astrological charts, books of doom, psychology, mythology, Tao Te Ching, Finnegan's Wake, even Arthur Powell's The Etheric Double.
I was shown the particle of a famous man's journal or, so it was alleged. One never knew these days and the old woman had something of the sinister about her. She had held a book by Wilhelm Reich to my face, shaking it with great emotion, "This one almost broke through, yes, he almost got to the otherside!"
It was obviously written by someone very young and exposed for the first time to inner realities. Perhaps he had surrendered to them and was now in a stupor, surrounded by the mad and maniacal of the deeps. Perhaps he had given up his fame and worked for the poor in the 3rd world. I was curious about it but decided to buy, "The Death of Christ," by Reich and read it on the bus, between the somber commuters hanging on to the side railings or snapping newspapers open in disgust or dreaming. It's amazing the the dreaming mind, in the daylight, can pick up so much rich material!
I was under the influence of California for a long time. California represented "make it new!" It represented, "do that which expresses what you are and what you feel and believe," rather than follow the dead road of some ambiguous authority. California represented beauty in nature. Nature the Magnificent. California was an attempt to re-find and re-new the foundations of an big, old, ugly thing. That was the belief in California at any rate. What else are solar power, computers, and environmetnal awareness but these very things?
It was, without question, nature. Ah nature! Nature pushing back, nature possessing the minds of the young and working through them to push back against the stupidities of the culture; nature as a sustainer, nature as a god or goddess. And what is a god or goddess to a people who have lost any inkling of what they are? Nature is no substitute. Nature is a teacher and we embrace our teachers. At least, the one's who have shown us the truth. Nature is the patience of a billion years. It is that part of the mind that strives toward life that exists elsewhere.
© 2002 David Eide. All rights reserved.